SINGAPORE Aluminum ingot inventories at Japans three major ports rose in January, according to Marubeni Corp.
Aluminum stocks reached 315,500 tonnes, up 11.1 percent from 284,000 tonnes in December and 13.6 percent higher than 277,800 tonnes in January 2012, according to the trading house, which collects data from the key Japanese ports of Nagoya, Osaka and Yokohama.
Aluminum stocks at Nagoya totaled 149,400 tonnes in January, up 11.5 percent from 134,000 tonnes the previous month, and stocks at Yokohama increased 12.3 percent to 151,100 tonnes from 134,500 tonnes in the same comparison, but Osakas stocks inched down 3.2 percent to 15,000 tonnes from 15,500 tonnes.
"Its a big difference (in stocks) over (December), but Osaka is stable," a source at a big trading house in Japan said. "Stock has increased in (Nagoya and Yokohama) mainly because of a higher delivery-in quantity. Delivery out is lower than usual ... mainly due to a better schedule of ships in Japan, with many vessels (docking) in Nagoya and Yokohama."
However, the high stocks could be a problem as market participants will want to destock ahead of the end of Japans fiscal year March 31, according to the source.
The domestic premium for aluminum in Japan is at a discount to the main Japanese port spot premium, which has been put at $240 to $245 per tonne.
"We have heard of some traders trying to sell material at $230 or under $230 (in the domestic market)," the source said.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.